Friday, November 11, 2011

This month, I are been mostly playing...

... Dragon Age! But just the first one. And only on weekends. I've actually come to a spot where I think my skill level may not be high enough. After the goings on at the castle, I'm ready to move on to any other place, but I think I've hit a scripted section in the storyline where a hired assassin (looks like an elf) and his henchmen try to kill me and the group. I'm not sure that my group has the gear or the make up to defeat that many melee and archers. Which means I'm going to need skill to get through, or there's some sort of gimmick that I haven't found yet. I'll have to think about it. In the mean time, I've purchases Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, and now that it's free to play, I've downloaded DC Universe Online. L4D looks pretty fun. I'm guessing it would be more fun if I actually played it with other people. L4D2 will lie dormant until L4D is completed. I tried DCUO for a little while. Not too shabby. I'm going to do my best not to look up resources or extra information outside of the game for this one. I'm likely to be very casual playing it, so there's no point in looking up how to maximise abilities and what not. So far, definitely more engaging than LoTRO, as the F2P genre goes.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Ding dong!

Not Avon calling.  It's the absent caretaker.

My gaming has taken an odd turn.  I've been playing Monster World, Zombie Land and City of Wonder in Google Plus, more than any other games.

I've played a bit of Torchlight, but I've lost a bit of interest in it.

I've played a bit of Civ V, but I've lost a bit of interest in it.

I've played a bit of Cities In Motion, but I think if I have to engage the employment and stock parts of the game, it's going to be put in the "too hard" basket.

I'm not really looking forward to Diablo 3 as much as I was.  I keep hearing the term MMO being applied to it.  Though I thought it was a dungeon crawler with co-op, which does not make an MMO.  And the more I hear MMO getting associated with it, the less I want to pick it up.

I'm looking forward to Torchlight 2 a little more than Diablo 3, but less than I was a month ago.  For the announced price, I think I'll pick it up anyway.

I've started getting to DCs The New 52.  Just Action, Detective, Justice League, Batman, Superman, The Dark Knight and Swamp Thing to start.  However, I don't think I'll be playing DC Universe Online, even when it does go free to play.

I did see a demo for Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning, the other day.  It reminded me of RIFT, it reminded me of Dungeon Siege, it reminded me of Oblivion, it reminded me of WoW when I used to enjoy it.  It's the type of game I'm yearning for these days; a single player action RPG that I can start and stop whenever I want.  Oh, sweet, it looks like there is an option for pre ordering, and they do a digital version.  Awesome.

I did spot that Dragon Age DLC that Felicia Day has had a hand in (am I master of understatement yet?).  I haven't played Dragon Age at all.  Perhaps that could be a good reason to get into it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Safety Tank

Inspired by the tankless MMO.  Or whatever the kids are doing these days.

You can tank if you want,
and get your heals from behind.
But if you don't damage, and your friends don't damage,
then you're no tank of mine.

You can tank, you can tank.
It's an MMO tank and spank.
You can tank, you can tank.
If we wipe, it's you we can thank.

Is it safe to tank. Is it safe to tank.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TF2 : Late to the Party

I've only just started playing Team Fortress 2. I'm really late to the party on this one, but it doesn't hamper my enjoyment of it.

It's giving me a PvP experience superior to what I was getting in WoW, for the following reasons:

  • Classes! I can switch between classes whenever I want. Some classes I'm okay at, and some I am not. There's no roles to buy, no duel spec to be concerned with.
  • No Levelling! From the get go, I can jump in and start contributing to the team. There's no levelling.  Sure, there's skill to be concerned with, but it's nothing like the difference between a level 10 and a level 85 in WoW.
  • No Gear Grind!  There's crafting in TF2, and there's a degree of persistence that allows for collection of gear (although the mechanics of that are a little mystery to me, at the moment).  However, there's no immediate gear grind that I have to.  I don't have people on the team inspecting my gear (probably because they can't) and calling me a noob.
  • Instant Gratification!  I can jump on a server, play a few maps, and disconnect. No LFG, no waiting in queues.
  • Low Pings!  Since I can play on servers located in Australia, I get to enjoy 45ms pings.  This makes a big change from the 400ms latency I'd have to endure while playing WoW.
TF2 is going to have my attention for some time, until I have a hankering for some dungeon hack and slash.  At which point, I'll try some more Torchlight, or fork out for Diablo 3, if it's available.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

User Interface : Comment

Klepsacovic at Troll Racials Are Overpowered did a post on the User Interface. Once again, I started with a comment that turned into something more.

The default UI will get you going. It's also great for those who have trained themselves to ignore it, and just go with pure keymappings and macros.

I've got a friend who got sick of the UI tussle on patch day. It interfered prep for raiding, or for the actual raiding itself. Stuck with the default UI for all of WotLK. He might have done it parts of TBC, as well. I'm not sure how pure he was with that lack of UI mods (he probably still had Omen and some sort of threat meter), but I think for unit frames, and action bars, he just went naked (or, you know, what Blizzard gave us).

Conversely, I'm a horrible clicker. I'll use keymappings after a while, but some times my brain just can't remember things, and moving from alt to alt doesn't help. So I end up having all the abilities, consumables and quest items on the action bar, where I can see them. And then, right next to that, are my unit frames, because eye movement from my action bars (at the bottom centre), to the default location for unit frames (top left), is a strain, when it happens as much as it does.

I've seen postings who have done more study about where eye placement should be, and they all seem to say that eyes should be in the middle of the screen, and radiate out from there. That's where the action is. But the action is also in the chat window for instructions, or emotes, it's in the party or raid frames from debuffs, flailing health, and is that guy even targeting the boss, it's in the action bars for how long you've got left on that cooldown, or abilities that are triggered via other abilities and the RNG, it's in the mini map to show that re-enforcements are coming to your BG base. And that's just while in combat.

Then there's all the other stuff. Professions, training, AH, mail, guilds, latency, inventory, friend and ignore lists, reputations, quest tracking, buffs, debuffs, and more.

Blizzard has provided so much information (and sometimes not enough), and it's all over the shop. I'm very glad they've allowed customisation of the UI via addons. If it didn't, it might not have the success that it enjoys today, or at least the community that surrounds it.

Right, now that I've got all that off my chest, I'm re-reading the original post, because I'm sure I was countering something at some point. Ah yes, not liking the customizable UI as a band-aid to get the job done. Calling it a lie. Well, it's not a lie, it's a tool. That's what makes us humans. Usage of tools, and making our own tools, and opposable thumbs, and discussing stuff on the internet! Sure, usage of these tools won't make you a great tank, or a great healer or a great at dealing damage, but it will help to lower the barrier to success.

The greatest addon I've every used to help with a particular role is LifeBloomer. During my resto druid phase, this addon made managing the particulars of druid HoTs easier to manage. Keeping an eye on a colour coded sliding bar that takes latency into account was a lot easier that watching a number panel count down. And then placement of that on the screen where I needed it most (just to the middle right of center) was also awesome, as opposed to the top left corner of the screen. This method of healing also taught me the value of mouse over macros. Just hover over that unit, and hit that key mapping. Much easier that targeting a friendly (via mouse or key), and then hitting a key.

Healbot was a close second, and helped me with pally healing during TBC. Though I think I might still have been clicking targets in and via Healbot, then clicking abilities. Or maybe I was just doing combinations of left and right clicks with modifiers.

If we wanted to discuss UI being a lie, we could go back to my rant on Assassins Creed 2, and the lack of UI options it gives in certain parts of the game. You can also draw the parallels with vehicular combat in WoW, where your characters abilities are ignored, and you're forced to learn a new set of abilities. At least Blizzard gave us dailies, or 5 man dungeons with similar vehicles in which you can practice this style of play before fronting up for the raid.

When I see someone play, and I'm in a position to see what their UI is, the UI is the least interesting feature. I might be curious, but usually the playback is via YouTube, and UIs get horribly blurred to the point of scrolling text is reduce to red and green blobs, and the action buttons look the same, and if you're lucky, you can make out 10 or 25 small toons on the perimeter of a hot box of a boss with no head. Unless you're watching a nelf rogue take down a raid boss from the first tier for that expansion. That can be a good watch, and is helped greatly by putting it in fast forward mode.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Assassins Creed 2 : Leave my camera view alone!

I'm having some pretty happy fun times with Assassins Creed 2. Or rather, I was having some pretty happy fun times. Game play, for the most part, is fluid. Quests are interesting, and don't get you bogged down with twitch reflexes too much. Goals are achievable, so far.

I'm taking a 5 minute break at the moment to bitch about AC2 taking control of my camera, and my key mappings.

In certain places, like a tomb, there will be a timed event. You flick a switch, and you've got some unspecified amount of time to make it to the end of the section before whatever door or switch that was opened or reveal disappears again. And that's fine, except for one small feature. Your camera view and key mappings are no longer the same. You get put into a third person camera view that is not of your control. You get stuck having to do keyboard turns, instead of moving the camera to point in the direction you want to go. Forward is maybe forward, unless it's left, or backwards, or left of forward, or whatever arbitrary direction that is least convenient for you.

I'm currently stuck in the Auditore Tomb, with one of these special sequences. There's an initial three jumps that are easy enough, with a small landing, and then a jump on to some narrow archway pillar join. All's fine. It's broken a bit, so you need to move to the left, jump that bit, then launch into a swing and three more jumps to a wooden platform. That bit with the left movement. Well, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes left is some angle the character isn't facing. Really annoying. At that point, if you fall off, you need to start again.

And then to the platform. It's in the corner of the room, and you need to do a 180 degree turn (or maybe 160 degrees), and jump up to a beam, climb it a move on to the next platform. Very doable when the event it's active, when you have control of the camera view. Not so much when it's fixed, and forward is no longer strictly forward. Anyway, I think you get the idea.

Hey, game developers. Suddenly changing the controls of the game is not cool. Now I realise why WoW players, and raiders in particular, get so pissed with vehicular combat in raids. You spend all this time honing your craft, training your fingers to go to certain keys for certain abilities, getting the most out of your DPS, healing, threat generation. Then all of a sudden, you're controlling something else, key mappings for abilities, that are not yours are now completely different, and it's on the critical path to progression in the game. If I want to play with controls set up like that, then I'd have it so it happened all the time.

When I'm done with AC2, I'm hoping to play Assassins Creed : Brotherhood. But if that kind of game play is going to feature, I'll be giving it a swerve.

[Update 1: About 5 minutes after publishing this post, I was able to make it through. Not sure what buttons I pushed, and I'm not sure I could do it again. Hopefully, I won't have to, but then again "hopefully" is one of my magic words]

Friday, July 01, 2011

It's Gamer Over, Man, Game Over!

A couple of nights ago, I cancelled my RIFT subscription. I hadn't played for what feels like an age, and the desire was just gone. I think it's still active until sometime in October, but for now, I'm over the MMO (until SWO or GW2 is released).

I tried giving LotRO a go on the weekend, firing up my F2P characters I created and played way back when. For the most part, just general confusion. My 3 bags are full, combat was a random smashing of buttons and it seemed like just a bunch of running around. I think that will do me for another couple of months. Maybe I'll drop a bit of money on it, even if it's just to buy some more bag space.

So, for a while, I'll be going back to single player games, or games with less persistence. I downloaded Team Fortress 2 and Assassins Creed II, and played about 3 hours of AC2 last night.

I never made it to the end of AC, but from the intro of AC2, it looks like I didn't miss much, except for a lot of riding between cities and jumping off tall buildings. Maybe there will be more of the same in AC2, but so far, it's been a bit of fun.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Idle Thought: Raiding as a spectator sport

There's a discussion going on about raiding being a closed club. I saw it at the Melting Pot first, but I guess by the time it gets there, it's been going on for a few hours, or possibly a day or so first.

While putting together one of my hasty comments that I never really feel hit the mark of what I want to say, my mind drifted to raiding as a spectator sport. If raids were available to watch, would you?

Ha! "If"! Of course they're available. They're on YouTube and other hosting sites. But could I be bothered watching one of those. Every YouTube WoW raiding video I've watched is what I would imagine watching porn through frosted glass would be like. I'm going with that analogy, because I've never watched porn through frosted glass, and I'm not sports motivated. Let's go with a cooking show analogy instead.

Though I wouldn't want to watch just any raid doing it's thing.

Let's flip back to the cooking show analogy for a bit. I like shows like Ready, Steady, Cook. There are minimal contestants. Just two contestants, even though there might be 2 or 3 people at a bench at a time. So it's intimate. Master Chef, or Ramseys Kitchen, or My Kitchen Rules don't do much for me. Too many people, too much blatant competition, too much gaming of the show instead of getting down with the ingredients to make something really good. Though I do like Iron Chef. Again, it's intimate. So if I wanted to watch a raid, I'd want to identify with the players, hear the personalities. I'm more likely to watch a 10 man raid than a 25 man raid. I'd also want to see some sort of visual queue, so that if there is chatter, I can tell who's doing the chatter. I'd want to see lips moving and appropriate gestures.

I also like a little bit of story with the presentation. Whether it be a little bit of background of the career of the people on the show, or the origin of the dish being made. Iron Chef is great for that, and Ready, Steady, Cook has a spectator friendly social side. I'm more likely to watch a raid that I have a personal connection to. I had a friend who raided all the time, and I'd run 5 mans with him and a few of the raiders. Not being available for raids myself, I wouldn't join them, but I'd love to watch their raids.

We also see preparation, which is the most exciting part for me. The "here's one I made earlier" is nice, but seeing stuff actually getting made is great! By the same token, I'd want to see progression raids. I'd want to see raids that result in fail. This is part of the preparation, this is part of the progression. The raiding videos that show a well executed, perhaps one-shot kill are the second most boring raid shot. The most boring is the kill still, showing some boss, lying on the ground with his backside to the camera, and 25 assorted tauren and undead rogues (they could be priests.. they all look the same to me), standing around or mounted up.

Yep, I wouldn't mind seeing a few progression videos that are visually clear, have full audio, are intimate and have a bit of excitement.

But not right now. I have a full season of Supernatural and Stargate Universe to catch up on.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Witcher 2 : First Sweep

Much to my surprise, I completed my first pass at The Witcher 2 on the weekend. That was really quite unexpected, and short.

It turns out that The Witcher 2 only has a prologue, 3 chapters and an epilogue. I was trying to down the dragon, and was having a really hard time of it. I went around, looking for tips, and saw YouTube videos with titles like "Dragon Final Boss". No, surely not!

But, yes, surely so. Somehow, Chapter 3 was really short, and here I was at the final boss already. Then I noticed the combat log. For each strike, I was doing a pittance of damage. I must have missed some content along the way.

So I restored an earlier save, and went for a bit more of a wander, and behold, I had missed a whole bunch of stuff. For instance, completing the Gargoyle contract will get you diagrams to update your gloves, boots and trousers. There's a guy in the market, a crafter, who will craft you an awesome Silver Sword that will help with that boss fight, but even then, you'll find one that is comparable in a chest (or does he just sell it, I don't quite remember). He'll also craft you an elven steel sword that will kick much butt, but by the time I got there, I didn't really have too many more humans to kill.

Tonight, I'll start a new game, and explore some of the variations and alternate paths. For prosperity, here are some of the major points I did:
Non-dagger throwing swordsman with some points going into magic.
Sided with Iorveth in Flotsam.
Didn't kill the Trolls in Vergen.
Didn't let Sile explode in Loc Muinne (I much prefer that spelling, instead of the more Australian spelling of Sheila).
Didn't kill Saskia.
Didn't kill Letho at the end.
Only got to level 33.

Next time around, I aim to side with Roche, make sure I complete all the quests in Flotsam before moving on, including the asylum and Malena, try and track down the DLC for Trouble with Trolls, perhaps let Sile explode, perhaps kill Letho when I get that chance, use the Kayran trap to help kill the kayran, and try and make it to level 35. I'm definitely going to pick up Quen III as early as I can, since redirecting deflected damage on to your enemies is awesome.

I'm hoping there will be a Witcher 3. There's certainly an opening for it. There's this side quest that Geralt has the whole time with finding out information about Yennefer and the Wild Hunt, but we never actually engage with the Wild Hunt, like we did in the first game. I was hoping for at least another chapter or two, involving a trip into Nilfgaard, tracking and finding Yennefer, and the Wild Hunt. But I guess tracking down space elves is probably grounds for a new game, especially in a game type like The Witcher, where the consequences of your actions can get in the way of effective story telling.

Hey, did I mention there'd be spoilers in this post? That was rather remiss of me, but search engines kinda rend that warning moot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Swing Away

For the next few weeks, or however long it takes, I'm swinging away from logging in to an MMO.

Despite being cancelled several months ago, my WoW subscription ran out today. And since the release of The Witcher 2, I haven't logged into RIFT either. Although I was starting to enjoy instance running in RIFT with Hinny. Instance running is a much better educational tool if you do it at level.

Anyway, TW2 has had me in a vice like grip of suspense pretty much all weekend. Okay, not all weekend, because I did get out of the house and do stuff on Saturday, but Sunday was an almost inside only day (with a brief trip to the shops for some fish and chips for dinner).

I can't give TW2 a 10 out of 10, but will say that it's pretty bloody good, as far as fantasy RPGs go. As a sequel, it's pretty bloody good as well.

According to my XFire profile, it took me 45 hours to get through The Witcher. So far, XFire has me at clocking up 22 hours, and that's excluding the first two nights of play, before XFire had released. My Steam account reckons 25 hours, so lets go with that.

I'm currently in Chapter 2, quite possibly near the end of that chapter. To chose to go with the Scoia'tael, and I've done my trip to the Nilfgaard camp to find Triss. I've picked up a small object of Power, and I'm about to wander into the Quarry and find a bigger object of power.

I'm more interested in the story line, so I'm playing it in Normal mode, and Geralt is maxing out his Swordmaster skills. I've just got access to the adrenaline mechanic, and I've only had one opportunity to use it. It just happened to be a life saver. My life, that is. Couldn't say as much for the three armoured Nilfgaard goons in my immediate vicinity.

As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't give it 10 out of 10. So why not? Here's a few of my gripes, though they're quite minor, given that wonder thing called The Internet that is only an Alt-Tab away from searchy goodness.

Tutorials. The prologue does a pretty good job of tutorials, but there are somethings that I needed a bit more help with. Maybe I'm special, maybe it wasn't immediately obvious.

Something that wasn't obvious was arm wrestling. Most of the instructions all say "use your mouse", but they never go into details. What should be clarified is that you use your mouse my making small side movements to keep the disc within the sliding bar. There's a bit of swing action with it, so if you slide your disc too far to the side, and swing it back too quickly, it will probably go too far. Arm wrestling in later stages can get a bit challenging. It may take a couple of tries.

Boxing was also something that was a bit challenging to start with, but is probably one of the easier mini games to contend in. Keep your guard up by keep a finger on the E key (on a QWERTY keyboard), and press the W, A, S or D keys as they appear on the screen. Don't dilly-dally, either. It's timing sensitive, though the combos are mildly entertaining. You may as well max your money and bet as much as you can every time.

Mutagens are something that don't really get mentioned in the game, but they're there. After slaughtering a bunch of nekkers, rotfiends and harpies, you're likely to have quite a collection. You use those by looking for tiny circles on the borders of your character abilities. You'll notice a Mutate option at the bottom of the screen when one is selected. Go to town, and fill one in. As a swordsman, I've been aiming for Greater mutagens in the flavours of adrenaline, vitality and critical hits.

Failed quests. In the first chapter, you'll come to a cross roads in the quests. At this point, once that choice has been made, certain uncompleted quests will be automatically failed. That's a bit of a bugger. I guess keep an eye out for quests giving you three choices, with one of them being "I have a few things I have to take care of first". That might be your hint to do a proper save of the game (not a quick save), perhaps make a choice and see which quests fail, then reload and go finish those quests. Though I didn't cotton on to that until Chapter 2, when I returned Triss's bandanna to Philipa, and failed the Flicker of Light quest. Luckily, I noticed it immediately, reloaded and finished that quest before continuing.

My only other gripe is a current quest called The Harpy Contract. Again, it's made minor because of The Internet, but could be quite frustrating if you weren't referring to outside sources when you get stuck. In the quarry, there are only 4 nests. Once you've destroyed 4 nests, any additional harpy traps laid will just get carried away, if they get carried away at all, and wasted. Pooh. I've read that the remaining 3 harpy nests are behind the big stone door in the quarry, and you'll need to continue through the storyline to get that open. So just put those 3 remaining traps aside. Oh yeah, save at least 7 timber for those traps. I had 28 timber on me at one point, and it was weighing me down, so I sold it all. Then I found out I had to build these traps. Bugger. I ended up having to buy 3 traps at 100g each.

The Witcher 2 is proving to be pretty fun. I'm still undecided if I'll bother renewing RIFT at the end of the 6 month subscription. I won't be going back to WoW for the time being. Maybe next expansion. Single player games, and single player RPGs in particular, might be my thing for some time to come.

And while I remember. That Stennis is such a douche. Saskia should have let him bleed out. I hope he gets what's coming to him.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hinny the Guardian Mage

Increasingly despondent with the queue times for WFs on Nyx during my typical play time, I decided to have another hunt for what is dubbed at the unofficial Oceanic shard for RIFT.

And I found this article at ausMMO, declaring Wolfsbane for PvE, Briarcliff for PvP and Faeblight for RP.

This time around, I've decided to try for a Mage, who has one healer spec (the Chloromancer), and as many DPS specs for various purposes as you can get your hands on.

For added variety, I've also decided to play the Guardian storyline as a female High Elf named Hinny. During the week, I've made it as far as level 17, and this time around, I'm going to try and "do it right".

How does one "do it right"? Well, last time, only ran one instance, the starter Defiant instance. And I didn't try any warfronts until I hit level 50. This time around, I'm going to do the instances at level, and while I'm not doing instances, I'm going to be queued for warfronts while questing. When I finally get to 50, I'll be familiar with all the fights, and hopefully had a whole bunch of favor, or at least a bunch of prestige under my belt. Then I'll be ready to run experts after buying or crafting a few items, or scoring them from the later instances.

Hinny will be levelling Butchering, Outfitting and Runecrafting as her professions. Butchering is fairly handy for Outfitting, which will in turn, help with Runcrafting, and will also provide a bit of income from the AH.

Initially, Hinny will be running with what seems to be a PvP cookie cutter soul combo of Necro, Warlock and Dominator (for Transmogrify). I'll probably be adopting a second role involving Chloromancer, so I can do support or even main healing, if required.

It's a Sunday afternoon, at the moment, and the downside of having one unofficial Oceanic PvP realm is that it's very popular. When I started writing this bit, I was about 405 in the queue to get entry to the shard and had about an hour to wait. 20 minutes later, I'm 276 in the queue, and still have another 44 minutes to wait.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

So, this is what it's like to be a Cadet

Dubh finally earned her PvP Cadet title on the weekend. That is, she's done a grind through 45K prestige point to get access to 3 new bits of PvP gear, and had a new grind of 90K prestige points to get to Rank 3 for the next tier of gear.

As a partial response to The Eye of the MMO Hurricane, I'm also feeling the lull.

Currently, RIFT does not seem to be the place for Warfront PvP for me.

Firstly, there's doesn't seem to be much in the way of a PvP guild keep Oceanic times on the Defiant side, on the Nyx shard that meets with what I want out of a guild, socially. That is, there is at least one guild there, but they condone AFK favor leeching. That's not something I can abide by. Most of the other guilds are US based, or just really immature in their guild advertising. I'm really not interested in rerolling to another shard, so I'm going to have to look down other avenues.

The next thing in PvE and instances. I've still not done any instances, aside from that initial Iron Tomb, way back when. But if I'm going to do anything about better gear between now and the next 90K prestige grind, PvE instances are going to have to be it.

Some profession advancement also relies on PvE, especially butchering, which required expert instances to be able to skill up enough to process Ironhide.

There are still 5 months or so left on the current subscription, at the founders rate, so we'll see where Trion takes PvP in that time.

I did check out Wurm Online on the weekend. I was curious after seeing the comparison between it, and Minecraft as sandbox games with online aspects. I made it through the tutorial and to the docks, but there was something about all the right and double clicking that I didn't like. Maybe I'll have another go at it, when I get bored with RIFT again. Maybe I will end up back in WoW in 6 months, honor grinding Pathak, and perhaps joining an Oceanic PvP guild.

Maybe I'll just loose myself in Witcher 2 for a few weeks.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Up front with the Warfronts

Well, so much for instances. With most of the guild running experts, and time online being that unpredictable beast that it is, I've decided to go for PvP for enjoyment and the gear upgrade. To be honest, warfronts were my intention when I first purchased RIFT anyway, though now it's being done with a healer/dps instead of a shield bashing warrior. Still, since I won't be getting any new PvP gear for at least 3 weeks, I can concentrate on the skill aspect.

Last night, I noticed awesome improvements in my PvP play as a Warden/Sentinel healer. I'm preloading the most likely fang holder with the rolling stacking HoT, I'm using some of my attack skills to silence casters and knock back casting casters or melee that are going after the fang holder. The AoE heals are going well, and I'm getting better at my other HoTs.

I've even manage to pick up the fang myself, and last 1 minute and 19 seconds before dying, though that really is a team effort with the other team members healing me as well.

Codex is starting to make sense as well.. hold the Codex point, then go after the other targets.

I even managed a successful run of the shard in Whitesteppes (I think that's what it is called).

Life at level 50 has become this : Log in, check mail box for AH sales, grab warfront daily, do warfronts. Between warfronts, head out to Shimmersand. Do Dragonslayer dailies. Do RIFT events if there is one going out there. That usually lasts the 2 or 3 hours I have to play of an evening.

Oh, and I got my epic mount. 110% land speed, baby!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dubh hits 50

132 hours of playing RIFT, and 5 days, 4 hours, 54 minutes and something seconds of played time for Dubh, I've finally hit 50.

Now it's gearing time, for PvE instances, warfronts and whatever roles I end up doing within those activities.

Now, all I have to do is resist levelling an alt.

Ode to Stillmoor

You are not Icecrown
You are not Icecrown
Your hills are greenie, and there are fae
But you're an end zone
I may grow to hate you
When the dailies are all that's left to play

(sung to You Are My Sunshine)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Call to Care, or Failure Thereof

/sigh. Yeah another post about the Call to Arms thing. Go read about it, if you truly have been living under a rock.

I've been trying to form an opinion on it, but every time I go to write something, I keep trying to come up with an alternative solution. And I keep arriving to the same conclusion. I can't solve this thing.

World of Warcraft is becoming a victim of it's own success. Many people hold that opinion, and we're starting to see the cracks. Blizzard are seeing it too. Dissatisfied subscribers walking away, because it's no longer fun, queue times for anything are too long, and players who have been with the game for several years are moving on with other games, or other stages in their own lives.

Here a a few of the random thoughts I've had, when I've gone to compose a response, or provide a quick comment to any of the other blogs that have posted a thing or two on the matter.

My first character through to 60 in vanilla was a tank. Pathak! He was always a reluctant tank. Spec'd for Arms nearly the whole time, because Prot couldn't cut for soloing or battle grounds, tanking those lower level bosses was a big deal. However, once on top of things, it became enjoyable, especially in the guild run environment. Being the only tank in an instance gave a sense of achievement. Any old mage can pull agro, but the tank is the only one to take it from several mobs at once, and gets to move the angry crowd around the small amount of space available, to steer clear of the crowd controlled mobs.

Tanking was fun, but you needed to trust your healer to keep you up, your healer needed to trust you to use your mitigation, and you needed to trust the DPS to keep up crowd control. I guess those were the basics of the group mechanic. That lasted through to TBC. WotLK did away with the crowd control, somewhat, and it just became an AoE-fest. I've got no idea with Cataclysm because I never ended up running an instance. The thought of learning a whole bunch of boss fights, outside of a guild environment, and putting up with the shenanigans of the anonymous LFD drolls was too much.

In TBC, I levelled a pally, and he (Colerejuste) went on to run Kara until he was blue in the face, exalted in the rep and then a bit more, as a healer. Healing was fun. In WotLK, I did quite a bit of druid healing, but just heroics.

Now, when I read that there are not enough tanking signing up for the LFD tool, I'm not surprised. If you're in a guild, and you're working on raid content, why on earth would you put yourself through the pain of a PuG, for anything. There's the AH and guild perks for gold, a bit of casual farming for consumables. You can do guild runs for practice. Who would rather run a PuG than a guild run? No many folks, but perhaps a lot more DPS players than tanks and healers (apparently).

There might be a solution for this, but I don't know where you'd find it.

Change the composition of the group. Swap two of those pure DPS roles to dedicated crowd control and support roles. Sure they do a bit of damage, but the benefits they bring to the group with those roles are required. But there we go.. we just bought the role, not the player. You won't find this solution in the World of Warcraft.

Perhaps a new faction that only gives rep when you use the LFD tool solo. That's about as useful as a goody bag.

Gah, and there I go, looking for solutions to a problem that is as deep seeded as the nature of the players themselves. Players, and I guess tanks in particular, just aren't going to run content they don't find enjoyable. They're certainly not going to with a random group if they don't have to.

I think one of the options might be to even out the population who are actually using the LFD tool. Bring on the battle mage who absorbs and channels received damage to imbued objects or other players in the group. Perhaps a similar things for warlocks, but they channel the damage to their pets (that demonic rock sure can take some damage). The avoidance taunting rogue, and the hunter with his battle chicken. If you've got a population of DPS players that far exceeds the population of tanks who are actually sticking around for the LFD tool, then perhaps you need to enable some of those DPS players to be tanks.

But that's not WoW, that's another game... that doesn't have a LFD tool, and doesn't have cross server instancing. And I really hope it never does. I'd rather see realms merge than enable that enable that sort of functionality that seems to bring out the worst in some players.

In the end, I'm a casual observer in the World of Warcraft. I've moved on, I'm enjoying the show from the side lines. I heard the Call to Arms, and I failed. I abandoned. Maybe I'll pick it up in the next expansion.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Thoughts on Levelling

Gordon at We Fly Spitfires has done an interesting piece on levelling. I started doing a wall of text as a response, and felt that the reply would be better suited as a proper entry.

I still haven't got the hang of trackbacks/backlinks between Blogger and Wordpress, so here is a random trackback link.

There was a poll embedded, and I answered that I didn't care how long it took me to level. But that would only be partially true.

When playing a new game, levelling gives a chance for the game creators to tell the story. If there are factions, you may do it a couple of times to get both sides of that story.

When playing a new class, levelling the way nature (or Blizzard or whoever) intended gave me a good grounding in the mechanics of that class. But once you've completed it once, you may not want to do it again for that class, unless you started on a PvE server, and would like a PvP experience. Solo levelling a warrior in a PvP environment was something I consider to be almost the ultimate in hardship, especially if you did it as Prot. I could only imagine doing the same as a holy priest to be second in difficulty.

But after a while, you get used to the various classes, and you just want to jump in with a prebuilt class. Features like multiple roles / dual spec melt an argument for levelling for the sake of class mechanics.

After all, here you are, at level 85. Perhaps you've levelled as Arms the whole way, and now you want to get into tanking. There's no smooth transition if you've never tanked before. You just take the lowest level dungeon you can, even though you're overpowered, and start applying the basics you've read about. Eventually, you'll hit the harder dungeons for your level and will actually be tanking properly (you hope) without being over powered. Then you end up with the gear scale, as each of the harder dungeons require better gear. There's a skill scale in there as well, but usually, you'll hit gear as a limiting factor as the norm. Skill scale is something for the extremes.. i.e. you're just starting, or you're running hard modes in the premier raid.

Let's throw a RIFT comparison in there, too. RIFT is a bit easier going. It's not just dual spec, it's up to 4 specs. For a cleric, you may have a defensive build, an offensive build, a healing build and a PvP build. Though due to the cost of the roles, you may only have 3 role slots to select from for quite some time. Further more, you may only be interested in the offensive build. At some point, you may pick up a healing role, and there will be no nice levelling experience to help you use it. You may even just decide to pick a different primary soul at level 50, and there will be no nice levelling experience to help you learn it. You just jump in the deep end, grind some mobs, kill some players until you get comfortable with it. These are examples where levelling to learn a class comes unstuck.

Back to the original question, however, of do I care how long it takes to level? So far, not if I'm experiencing the story for the first time. And not if I'm learning a class for the first time.

But now I'm in a tricky position. I'm about to hit level 40 in RIFT on my cleric. Most of the guildies are now 50 or in the high 40s. I'm super keen to get up there and enjoy content with the guildies instead of going through the motions of levelling. On the other hand, I'm about to enter a new zone, so there's a story being unravelled for that zone, and I do like to read the quest text. I'm sure that after I hit 50, there is still going to be levelling to do, and I'm still going to take the time to read the quest text. I only get a couple of hours play a night, so levelling is taking a bit longer for me that the rest. I'm just going to have to exercise my patience.

PvP is going to be interesting. Warfront PvP, that is. I've only done the one warfront, and I'll need to do a whole bunch of I want a PvP soul. There's a really good chance I won't start the PvP properly until I hit level 50. It's going to be painful, I know. Going on to the battlefield with on Valor (the equivalent of Resilience), I'm going to be made into prawn paste for quite a few weeks until I can gear up.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Where's the WoW stuff?

This post, brought to you by a though provoking post at MMO Melting Pot, Is There Such A Thing As Being Too Loyal To A Game?.

I think I have a sum total of 14 people subscribed to this blog.  It's really only for me, recording my progress as I make my way through AzerothTelara.

Heh.  As the blog name may suggest, I used to play WoW.  Now I don't.  I've moved on to RIFT.  It appeals to my play style, and in this early phase of the game, guild structures also seem to appeal to my play style.. that is, leveling, PvP, not a lot of serious raiding.

I still read alot of WoW news, must mostly through MMO Champion and personal blogs.  I've dropped a few of the more serious WoW centric blogs from my Reader, like WoW Insider and World of Matticus.  WoW Insider has too many articles that I don't find relevant any more, and the matters of guild management and healing management, and even raid strategy found on WoM aren't relevant to me either.  I've also canned my general subscription to Massively, but still pick up their RIFT specific things. Three cheers for blogs with category based RSS feeds!

Anyway, I'm one of those players who defected to RIFT. Not because I hate WoW, but simply because it has run it has its course.

I used to think that WoW was forever.  It had solo content, battlegrounds, dungeons to run with your friends and those things called raids, which remained somewhat out of my reach for most of my WoW career.  But then the friends left, or played as sporadically as I did.  My lifestyle changed, and no longer could I play for 35 hours a week, do work and maintain a relationship.  I eventually played every class the game had to offer.  Somewhere along the line, I lost interest in levelling yet another toon on a PvP server, just so I could play in a guild that was actually populated with active players.  Even then, that guild closed up shop and moved on.

So, after playing WoW for almost 5 years, and clocking up over 6383 hours (as recorded by XFire),  I'm now 72 hours into RIFT having clocked in 22 hours this week (and it's Friday morning).  These days, my play times are typically 10pm to midnight, for most nights, though this last week, I've been a little naughty, staying up until 12:30am or 1:00am.

Even if you don't play RIFT, stick around, read the stories, watch the horror.  It's interesting times, and I've got a front row seat in the MMO war theatre, where we get to see if RIFT can survive as an MMO unto itself, and perhaps go forth to be a worthy competitor for WoW.  I've got a dodgy camcorder, and you're welcome to peruse whatever I manage to capture in words.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dubhs first Warfront experience

Dubh had her first Warfront experience last night, in The Black Garden.

Being level 29, and having had warfronts available since level 10, it was about time that I got my hands dirty, and tucked into some battleground style PvP.  Also, since I'm on a PvP server, and had a novel experience with a member of the opposing faction (more on that in a bit), and will be moving into zones that are more heavily contested and will require actual PvP, I figured I'd better get myself a PvP soul.

Now, PvP souls cost 2500 "favor". "Favor" is a currency that is earned by doing Warfronts, similar to WoWs Honor.  Ergo, time for some Warfronts.

But first, let me relate my little experience with a Guardian named Ysera.  I was finishing up questing in Rock Ridge, and was ready to make a move back to the first portal in the zone, when I spied a character with red over their head, moving distinctly not like a NPC and beating down on a Defiant.

I spied them, they spied me back.  This was a Guardian, named Ysera and was level ??, which implied she would have been at least level 40.  Well, when you're looking at a boss level Ysera, and she's looking back at you, what do you do?  You run, that's what you do.  So I tried to do a dodge around the quest hub building.  There was one other Defiant Ascended there, who had also spied Ysera, and was looking to make a run for it as well.  Ysera came bounding around the corner on her swift mount. Doh!  Switch back and run the other way.  Luckily, I was a bit quicker than the other guy, or perhaps Ysera just latched on to him first.  Either way, Ysera changed targets and was beating him down, while I plodded down the river on my two headed tortoise.

And then the surprise.  In chat, from Ysera was "So sorry. Guild quest =/".  There's a guild quest that requires you to kill members of the opposing faction, of a minimum level.  I think you need to kill about 50.  This can be completed in warfronts with killing blows, but Ysera was a bit old fashion, and doing it old school, by ganking toons at a much lower level.

Of course, the shock for me was understanding the the Guardians speech.  As one of the guildies said, "This is not WoW", but still factions is factions, and that was a toon named Ysera! For the uninitiated, Ysera is the dragon aspect of Life in WoW, and plays a major part in the liberation of Mt Hyjal from the Twilight Cult.  Now that I know that, I'm going to have to do some trash talk macros, or even a trash talk addon, when addons become available, just so I can hit a button and convey some general feelings of fear, sarcasm, taunting, gloating and congratulations without having to type a whole bunch of stuff during a fight.  "Did you mum pack your lunch when she packed that knitting needle you call a sword?". "For Pony!".  Stuff like that.

Anyway, running away, surprised by the speech, I felt too exposed on my tortoise.  So I did was any running Kelari does.  Shift to a camouflaged fox form and run further, being very hard to spot.  It did work a treat.

Now, back to the Warfront experience.

It took quite a while to actually get in one.  Queue times were reporting an average time of 4 minutes, but my wait, while I quested, was more like 30 minutes, before I gained access.

Now the goal of The Black Garden is to pick up a fang in the middle of the warfront, and hold on to it for as long as possible, accumulating points.  However, the longer you hold it, the more damage it does to the holder, so you need to pass it off to someone else, heal up, heal them, defend them, etc.  The first team to 500 points wins.

Well, none of that mattered.  We got pants'd.  Not sure if there were just more active players on the Guardian side, or perhaps they were just better at it.  They snatched that fang, and hung on to it to the tune of 500 points to our 50.  I think I managed to kill one person, and died about 5 times before it was all over.  I did manage to get 50 favor for the experience.  50 more matches like that, and I can get my PvP soul.

I think I'm going to have to have a look at the other souls available to find something a bit better for warfronts.  Justicar/Shaman/Druid doesn't seem to do it, or perhaps I have points in the wrong tree.

Tonights homework will be warfronts, and foraging up to 115 so I can collect stuff in the new zone that I've entered now that I've made the milestone of level 30.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spec change for Dubh, and RIFT PvP

One the weekend, I had a thought to do something more useful with Dubhs third zero-point soul.  She was working with Justicar / Sentinel / Purifier, and it was becoming clear that this Cleric build was never going to be an instance healer.  So I swapped Purifier for Druid to get access to the pet Fae that will heal and attach along side you.

That was pretty cute, but then I went one step further, and dropped Sentinel for Shaman.  As it happens, the Shaman would appear to have stronger attacks than the Justicar, but I do like the survivability of the shield wielding Justicar, and the usefulness of the block buff.  As a result, my rotation has changed somewhat.  Now, I make sure if have 4 points in conviction for emergency heals, through a shield bash in for increased block, and generally spam the shaman DoT and instance damage abilities, for a lot more health back that I was getting with Justicar.  The downside is that I no longer have any direct heals, but that seems to be okay so far.

Last night, I had my first RIFT PvP experience.  I was about level 27 and questing around the northern end of the Scarlet Gorge.  I had grouped with a rogue who had a pet boar.  I'm inclined to say hunter, but I'm not familiar with the rogue souls, so it could have had some other name.  Anyway, he was level 29. We were scooting pretty quickly through the quests, when all of a sudden my action bars went dead, and I was hit with a debuff that I vaguely recall being "All hope is lost", or perhaps it was just "Lost Hope".  Either way, a few seconds later, I was cactus.

I had fallen victim to a Guardian gank.  A lvl34 and 2 lvl29s were having a bit of a romp in the general vicinity, and decided to give us a bit of hassle.  After the third gank, I was ready to log, but we tried one more time to complete our quests, with success.

I've heard that PvPers hate clerics.  Apparently, we're overpowered and really hard to pull down.  I guess I'm playing the wrong way, because I only had time for 2 hits before I was sliced to shreds, against that lvl34.  I guess this is the point of PvP.  Be ready for anything at any time, even ganking and griefing by goons that are 5 levels or more above you.

Tonight will be a bit of a maintenance night.  That is, I'll be putting a hold on levelling via questing in favour of getting my butchering up to speed so I can actually collect things in Scarlet Gorge (seem to need at least level 85 in butchering), and helping out the guild quest of closing 100 rifts so we can get to guild rank level 2.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dubh of Nyx

I'd like to introduce my second RIFT character that I've been playing this week, Dubh of Nyx.

Much like her previous WoW counterpart, Dubh is a female elf, of the Kelari tribe.  Anion used to be called Dubh when she lived on Malygos.  Dubh of Nyx is a cleric, and is currently a Justicar with minor participation as a Sentinel and Purifier.  As Dubh starts to get more access to the other souls and multiple talent builds, she may decide to even become a Druid, just as she was on Malygos and Aman'Thul.

Justicar is a pretty fun soul to play.  It's a melee healer, which means I get to get in on the action, casting my offensive spells to build up Conviction.  As I cast each heal, my Conviction count drops, so I have to temper my heals with a rotation of attacks to make sure I always have some sort of healing available.  Dubh is only at level 15, at the moment, and hasn't wandered into the PvP zones yet.  Freemarch is a pretty good place to try out the Justicar soul.

A big part of RIFT is participation in closing rifts, shutting down footholds and chasing off invasions.  And one of the great things about RIFT is the Public Group.  If you see a rift open on the map and there are people anywhere in the vicinity, you get a Join Public Group button at the top of the screen, then can join up and participate!  Rifts tend to have several stages, with different goals.  Usually it's always kill the bad guys, but occasionally there's a time limit.  For each stage, depending on your participation, you get Planarite as a currency, and if you collect enough of that, you get to trade it in for rare armour and weapons.

Anyway, one of the things you'll want to do, as a cleric, during a rift event, is heal a bunch of people all at once.  And for this, we have the Sentinel soul.  So far, I have minimal points in my Sentinel soul, and no points in my Purifier soul.  However, even with that, I have a group heal that will heal up to 10 people in my immediate vicinity.  I'm fairly certain Purifier gives me a basic heal that will heal a single person, and Justicar gives me a self heal, a damage reducing/absorbing shield (like PW:S) and the ability to self heal on melee strikes (a very weak Seal of Light that applies just to me).

That's a pretty good range of healing abilities, and seems to suit really well for the starter area.  However, when I move into the contested zones, I may have to step up my game.  I'll also need to consider different builds for battlegrounds (PvP/Sentinel), and for instances (Purifier/Sentinel).

Currently, I just tend to mention two trees.  At these lower levels, you tend to become jack of all trades, master of none, if you spread too evenly.  At later levels, when points for soul allocation before plentiful, I'll be more likely to introduce points to the third tree for extra utility, or adding basic shifts in stats and abilities.

I'm actually finding my time as a cleric more enjoyable than a warrior, so I may end up sticking with that for a while longer.

At this point, I've picked up Foraging, Apothecary and Butchering as my professions.  I may end up dropping Butchering and take up Runecrafting, but I need to have a bit more of a look and see what it's all about.

Pathak of Nyx

I'd like to introduce Pathak of Nyx.  He's not moved to a new realm, he's been made flesh in a new dimension, in particular, the Planes of Telara.  That's right, I've jumped on the RIFT bandwagon.

Pathak has taken the form of a Bahmi Warrior.  Currently, he embodies the soul of the Paladin, Void Knight and Reaver, although he's sticking to Paladin as much as possible, with excess points spilling into Void Knight.  I've decided to go with this spec, since I was very much enjoying the sword and board antics of a PvP Prot Warrior in WoW.  The RIFT Paladin seems to reflect a WoW Prot Warrior more than a WoW Prot Paladin, with my primary focus on giving things a backhand with the shield.  Eventually, I'll be dropping the Reaver soul, and will take up a PvP soul.  However, it's very early days, and from what I've read, there may be opportunity for some sort of stored spec facility, where I can swap between different Soul configurations.

Pathak is currently level 14 (or 15, I forget, it was very late when I finished up last night), and is enjoying his jaunts around Freemarch.  Nyx is a PvP server, though there hasn't been much PvP to speak of yet, aside from the occasional Guardian invasion, which is usually an elite NPC followed by a bunch of lackeys, tearing up your country side.

It's early days with Professions, too.  So far, I've picked up mining and armorsmithing.  I've also seen herbing, butchering, and weaponsmithing.  I'm going to assume that there's some sort of tailoring, cooking and leatherworking, and perhaps even jewelcrafting, since I came across some shiny gems.  I'm going to keep my options open for that third profession until I've seen a lot more of Freemarch.

But I do want to mention Salvaging!  It's an awesome ability for a character to basically deconstruct certain items, like armour, into base crafting materials.  It certainly beats the pants of Disenchanting!

I'm having fun wandering around and discovering things in game, rather than alt-tabbing to a wiki or community site.  Eventually, I'll probably start looking external information when I start dying a lot.

The RIFT UI seems pretty nice, and is fairly usable in it's current form.  I'm not sure that I'd want for any addons, should they be available.  I haven't done any instances yet, so I'm not sure what happens with threat meters.  One of the nice features of the UI is the layout editor.  With this, I can change the position of various frames on the screen. You can also scale individual frames.  From the Display menu, there is a global scale, if the whole display seems a bit big.  Also go searching for options to make the additional action bars appear on the screen.  It probably won't be long before I change my RIFT UI to look more like my WoW UI, with my unit frame, target frame and target of target frame as the base of the screen, next to the action bars.

I'm not sure about how many alts I will, or can have.  I'll be creating a healing cleric at some stage, and maybe switching between the two, to take advantage of the rested bonus xp mechanism.

For all the reports that RIFT is like WoW, I'd go so far as to say, it resembles DDO and LoTRO as well, especially with the UI and professions.  Then again, that may just be a reflection of my limited MMO experience.  Fours years spent in one MMO, with limit experience in other MMOs such as Guild Wars, DDO, LoTRO and Battle of the Immortals does not an expert make.  Eitherway, I'm having fun in a new game with new mechanic and am actually taking time to read the quest text!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Just Joker-ing

Once again, I got bored with PvP on Pathak. Not so much bored with the PvP, but a little lonely that there was no one else in the guild, online, that also liked to do a bit of PvP. It doesn't help that I usually only play from 10pm to midnight, but there you go.

So I took a visit back to Barthilas to complete leveling Misnomer to 85, and perhaps level Chewychop, my fledging goblin warrior, because, you know, I want to do some more prot warrior PvP.  Prot Warrior PvP for battlegrounds is in a really good place right now, although I don't know how that will be when 4.1 gets released, given am increase in the cooldown of Spell Reflection from 10s to 25s.

Anyway, the guild I'm in on Barthilas is Joker.  The guild leader was taking a long break when I first joined during one of their random recruiting drives.  For a while, before Cataclysm, it was quite fun.  There was always a bit of banter on guild chat, and people doing this and that.  I think the plan was that things would "kick in" when Cataclysm hit and there would be raiding (and cake).  There was even a guild launch event to level like mad buggers on Cataclysm launch day.  Being a bit of a world PvP chicken, and also having to contend with long realm queues, just to log in, I contented myself with Aman'Thul at that point.

Anyhoo, I'm back on Barthilas, slowly getting through the levels (via Hyjal, Deepholme and Uldum), and then I log in one day to see a guild notice: "joker no longer active, active joker members encouraged to join Tricky".  Sad face.  For an inactive guild, it's not a bad place to be, if you ignore to lack of people online at any one time (or perhaps just when I'm on).  At the time of the message, it was a level 13 guild, and Misnomer was half way through Friendly, and nearly at my weekly guild rep cap.

So earlier this week, the night following maintenance, and the resetting of the guild rep cap, I put a bit of an effort into getting Honored with the guild, before it shut down.  And why?  Worn Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape, is why.  Misnomer did a little farting around with the Argent Tournament, but not enough to end up getting some BoAs to help with leveling.  This cape will do Chewychop just fine, as she makes here way through the new, yet old content.

So now Chewychop has a BoA cape.  And Dubh has the +int one as well.  I haven't bothered picking up the agi one, although if I ever do level my horde hunter, I'll get honored with another guild, assuming Joker has been dismantled, or I'm no longer in that guild.

Which brings me to my dilemma.  Joker just hit level 14, with the few people that are still leveling in it.  That's a 10% increase in tradeskill points, on top of the rep and honor bonuses that are available.  I don't mind the solo play, since I've been doing it for close on 5 months now, and 10% honor bonus would come in really handy if I even do get to 85 with Chewychop.  Should I stay or should I go?

At the moment, I think I'll stay, until at least 4.1, when Looking For Guild tools are introduced.  I haven't really taken too much notice of the interface, but I think there are basic things like PvP, Leveling and Casual, which is pretty much my style of play.  Chewy is only getting 1 point of guild rep per quest at the moment, so it's no great loss , if I don't leave Joker and join with another guild.

To Windsoar, With Love.  Thanks for the passive prod to put a post up.  Maybe I'll give those other guides a good read, and do something about that white on black rendering.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Too Many Rats

Dear Diary

I've been sleeping badly, of late.  I have these waking dreams.  Some people call them night terrors, but they're not terrifying, they're just annoying.

Last night, it was a rat.  On previous nights, it's been spiders, puppies, lizards and birds.  I awake up, or come to.  It's dark-ish and the eye sight of this old warrior is not what it used to be.

A dim light emanated from a gnomish air cooler that Fidgette installed in the side of the wall.  I'd prefer the cool air of mountain halls to sleep in, but the constant travel to Tol Barad has been taking it's toll, so I've made myself a little abode along the coast of the Arathi Highlands.

Where was I? Ah, yes, the light, the dark and the rat.  Well, it wasn't so much a rat as a field mouse, but the point was, it was sitting on my bed side table, eating.  Eating what, I don't know.  There's loads of crap on my bedside table.  Books, whetstones, armour oil, gryphon receipts and the odd collection of coppers.

So I reached over and tried to light up the candle on the table.  Stupid gnomish fire starter, why won't you work first time! Or second time.. barghh!

The missus rolled over, elbowing me in the ribs. "Whatcha doin?", she asked sleepily.

"Thar's a rat on the table, an' this blasted candle won't light up!".  I was still fiddling with the fire starter, one handed.

"Thar's nae rat. Go back ta sleep."

"Okay, it's a wee mouse then. But it's still on the table, and it's eatin' me stuffs".  The fire starter was giving me the shits.  Time to start bashing it on the table.  The mouse didn't seem to mind.  It was still looking at me, whilst nibbling on a bit of paper.  Bah, I've got to get this light on, and prove there's a mouse on the table.

Then she gets up and turns on her lamp, lighting up the whole room.

Bloody hell, no mouse, no rat.  Just my set of goblin jumper cables, and a loose wire sitting where the mouse once was.  Bloody disappointment, my brain has done it to me again.

I've got to get some sleep, or I'm gonna mistake one of those Bilgewater goblins for a gnome, and he's gonna rip a new one in the back of my skull, as a piggy back the luck bugger across the Tol Barad peninsula.

Sleepless in Azeroth

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pathak is back

It's been a quiet time on the blogging front, so I thought it's about time I putting some pixels to textarea before the month is out.

Way back at the start of the month, I had some ideas to write about.  But I've forgotten most of them.

The only one that comes to mind is how much of leveling and killing machine a combat rogue can be in Cataclysm when they've spec'd into Deadly Momentum.  Perhaps the same is true for assassination rogues, but I don't have much experience in that.  The first mob gets your slice and dice up to the full length, the second gets your recuperate up to the full stack, and from then on, run from mob to mob, killing, healing, killing, healing, usually with 15 seconds on the clock to get that next kill done.

Now, I did manage to get Col to 85.  I even had a little fun with Fidgette and Benzol, but these days, most of what WoW has to offer is now not really what I'm after.  Before I go too much further, here's the update list:

  • Anion 85
  • Pathak 85
  • Colerejuste 85
  • Benzol 81
  • Fidgette 81

So, I got Col to 85 via Prot, then started doing the ore grind to level Pathaks black smithing.  Then at some point, it all got too much, so I just stopped and went back to basics.  And basics is Pathak, a sword and board and a whole bunch of PvP in the BGs.

Pathak is a Knight-Lieutenant, don't you know.  That meant something back in the day.  That meant I had a good try at the crazy PvP BG ladder back in Vanilla.  That meant that before I went to work in the morning, I was running whatever BG I could get into.  And then when I got home, I did it again, before dinner, after dinner, on weekend, etc.  Basically, I had no life for however many weeks to took to get that far.  And then something happened.  It might have been the TBC release, and the ladder was gone and my highest title attained was assigned to me personally.  Sure, it's not the highest ranked title, but it's something better than Private.

These days, Knight-Lieutenant means little.  The rockstars of the PvP world are the arena duelists.  But I'm not doing BGs for titles.  I'm doing it because it's fun, and there's nothing else left in WoW for me.  I did read up on the Blackrock Caverns bosses.  I could probably tank those quite soundly.  Not sure if I have the gear for heroics, probably not.  But I'd be fine with normals.  And then I had a quick scan of how many other new instances there are.  Oh gods, screw that.  I'm not going to bother to learn to tank umpteen dozen other bosses and their uppity trash just for the delayed gratification of some PuG DPS meters.  If the guild had a few more active players, and we could do guild runs, then I probably would, but I'm not going to waste my time, and others, by learning these fights with PuGs.

So I'm doing what's left, which is PvP in BGs, with Pathak.

This time around, he's gone Prot.  Pathak used to do a bit of Prot Arena back in TBC. He wasn't very good at it.  He's a bit better now.  Prot PvP for Warriors is really quite fun.  I suppose I should give some thanks to the Warrior Prot PvP guide on MMO Champion.  His guide set expectations of being a tactical strategist, rather than a DPS meter topper.  And that's pretty much what I do.  I rush in, and debuff everything I can. Thunderclap, Demo shout, sunder, concussion, bash, shield slam, spell reflect, heroic leap, hamstring, rend, frenzied regen, lifeblood and command shout.  Three stances and more abilities than you can shake a stick at (or even map to your keyboard and access with one hand).

I make life as difficult as possible for as many Horde as I can.  I particularly like Devastate.  It cuts through plate quite nicely, allowing other melee based DPS to deliver bigger hits.

I also like Spell Reflect.  Ah, you, frost mage, I do believe this frost bolt was yours, no? The follow up with a Charge/Intercept, Concuss, Sunder, Sunder, Sunder, Bash, weaved in with Heroic Strikes, Shield Slams and a Hamstring to try stop him running away.

Rogues used to be the death of me.  Not sure about Deathknights, because I hadn't done much PvP with Pathak after WotLK was introduced.  But I've had some really good experiences with going head to head with these guys in the BGs.  After the sunders are up, their health steadily goes down, while mine stays nicely up.  And even if they do get me half way, which is wont to happen when a buddy joins, I top up with a Frenzied Regen and a Life Blood.  I guess it could only be sweeter if Pathak was a Dranei, instead of a Dwarf.  I guess I should put stone form on the action bar somewhere, for some extra melee mitigation.

I just hit a small goal this evening, just before shutdown.  The Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Plate Shoulders.  That's an extra 400 resilience on top of the 158 that it comes with.  Before, I had 8% damage reduction from resilience.  Now I have 14%, and it's just going to get better (although harder) as I slowly make my way through the honor grind and collect the rest.

Now, one of the side effects of not doing instances, and not doing arena is a lack of points. Justice and Conquest points, that is.  I'm collecting 25 conquest points a day, via the daily random BG.  I've for 175, so far.  The cheapest thing in my reach on the Conquest table is the resilience shield, which is 950 conquest points.  That's another 31 days worth of daily random BGs.  Crikey!

Anyway, I'm getting into TL:DR territory.

Pathak is back, and he's doing PvP BGs as a Prot Warrior, because it's fun.  More on my PvP experiences in the days and weeks ahead.